By dictionary definition, success is ‘the accomplishment of an aim or purpose (it’s also ‘the attainment of popularity or profit,’ but let’s focus on the first one for now.
I think the path to creative success begins with a pride in your work. Are you creating work that you love, that fills your creative craving? Maybe your work isn’t always your definition of complete perfection, but can you look at your latest image and think ‘this is it, I’m getting it, this is where I need to be?’ If not, why not?
Maybe there’s something wrong, or something missing. Maybe it’s a matter of finding your passion. You’re a toy photographer and you are fascinated by toys. Great, but what else do you love? Whether movies, animals, morning light, combine it with your toy photography and you’re one step closer to creating images you love.
I get so excited about my new images and ideas, and then a few months, weeks, or days later I hate them. A few stick, but some I just wonder what I was ever thinking. Over time, I’ve come to see this as a good thing. I stop myself from deleting them from social media, I instead have chosen to learn from those bad apples.
This can be a good practice when looking at the work of others too. Spend time with an image and ask yourself what you like and don’t like and why. Whether that’s in terms of light, types of toys, realism or lack thereof, meaning, scenery, etc. Then, apply those ideas to your own work.
Overall, you are the scale to measure your own success. It may sound cheesy, but make your art for you, and if other definitions of success follow, then so be it.
With that, it’s time for a tour or my images I hate. I’m not saying these are bad, but they’re ones I’ve developed a bad taste for for one reason or another. These immediately popped to my mind when putting together this post, and when pulling them, a new light was shone on some, and I can’t believe I hated them so much… All in all, here’s what I’ve learned.
What can you learn from looking back at your past work, good or bad? What have you continued exploring in your work and what have you left behind?